I'm still making the lengthy to-do list. I'm still worrying about what clothes my oldest is going to wear for style review and to show in. I'm still wondering if we'll get it all done. Preparation for county fair is nearly the same, but doesn't quite feel the same.
COVID-19 has changed how our county fair will look like this year, but I'm truly thankful we’re still having a semblance of it. In the midst of the pandemic, our county also moved to an online entry system instead of a pen and paper entry—which I really liked.
They've created a much-abbreviated schedule; with livestock shows being blow and show—no stalling of animals all week. Indoor projects will be dropped off by groups and judged without consultations.
For months after Shaun's first county fair in 2019, he kept asking when was it going to be time to get pigs. When the sale announcements came out, we made a plan. He was going to get two market hogs, or as many as his small budget would allow.
We went ahead and bought pigs in March, the weekend prior to when all the shutdowns started, hoping all along they'd be able to be shown. I was relieved to find out that our fair would go on, but with no public interaction.
His photography project went on as normal, and we were able to attend a friends branding where most of Shaun's 4H photos were taken. Getting them printed proved to be a task. Not sure if COVID-19 delayed the shipper or printer, or because I used my mailing address (a PO Box) instead of a physical address. But they’re here and mounted.
We've been walking goats as much as we can, and Shaun's cousins came last week to help him clip and work on showing. It was dang near identical to last year. We managed to get them walking better with the show chains, and I can only hope they decide to behave in the ring.
Our county fair livestock sale has also moved online. They requested photos be sent in, so after work we washed goats and got them looking their best. The doe gets a little needy and freaks out if the whether isn't near by so I had to hold her and the camera and attempt getting photos. I got a good one of each goat, but most of them had a foot cut off or Shaun's head. Oops.
We also tried to picture Shaun's pigs, and I was confident in my photography skills after the goats turned out so well, and boy was I mistaken! The pigs proved to be challenging, as was the weather. By the time we got the first pig clean, the sun had disappeared. We still had light, but it was not the best.
Slowly but surely my fair to-do list is getting whittled down. All we lack is the baking items he wanted to try this year. At least we'll have something sweet to snack on when he’s done with that project.
So if you're willing and able, support your local 4H groups and the youth involved. Despite the pandemic, they've worked just as hard to get their projects complete. Follow along on social media—like and share the county posts or posts from 4H families. Go to those who are still having an in-person sale or bid online for the premium auctions. Many of these kids depend on those purchases to invest in their livestock or projects. Others might be counting on them for money for college.
Good luck 4H and FFA exhibitors!